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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stuart Broomer

Like most people Stuart Broomer identifies with the music he heard as a child and most strongly with the music he heard in his teens. From his childhood he recalls Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent, but also instrumental music: Duane Eddy, The Ventures, the flamenco for export of Carlos Montoya and the first jazz he heard, Lester Young (a 45-rpm single of “Frenesi”), Billie Holiday and Miles Davis. In 1961 he happened to read (in one of the last issues of Metronome) an essay on the jazz avant-garde by Amiri Baraka (then Leroi Jones). He probably understood little of it, but he was captured by free jazz before he had ever heard it, and the article contributed to him becoming, at 13, what an acquaintance once described as the youngest beatnik he had ever met. First hearing the LPs Ornette! and Free Jazz in early 1962, he found the world in which, with only slight adjustments, he felt most at home. Within a couple of years he had heard and greeted the musics of Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, John Cage and others of similar ilk, paths that he has continued to pursue as listener, commentator and occasional creator, following those threads into an ever expanding present.